Scorpions. Unless you have an Emperor Scorpion as a pet, you most likely do NOT want these creatures in your house. Scorpions may look like many things to you, however they belong to the class Arachnida. The same as spiders which may come as a surprise to you. Scorpions have a bad reputation as aggressive and vicious creatures. Many people assume that they are deadly, especially those that get a good look at something like the Emperor Scorpion pictured below. Honestly out of the 1,400 species alive (give or take a few hundred) only about 25 species have adequate venom to kill a human.
That being said… no one wants to get stung. If you are a human being in your right mind, you don’t want to get stung with any kind of poisonous barb from ANY creature. Bee stings, wasp stings, scorpion stings and even ant stings HURT! It is not a fun experience, and is introducing your body to a substance which it does not like or want. No one wants this whether they are allergic or not. Not to mention the risk of infection that comes with any wound. So how do we prevent and get rid of these creatures?
(ALSO IF YOU HAVE BEEN STUNG, CHECK OUT MY ARTICLE ON TREATING STINGS)
Prevention and Extermination
Scorpions usually have plenty of food outside. It’s a common misconception that they want to be inside for food. More often than not, the scorpions are coming inside because they are attracted to water (which is why you might find them in sinks/tubs) and they love your comfortable indoor temperature. Scorpions prefer temperatures from around 70 degrees to 100 degrees. Depending on the species in your area, your house may be the perfect temperature for them to cozy up and pop out a 30 baby batch!
Scorpions will also hang around inside LONGER if there are adequate food sources. The first way to keep scorpions from nesting in your house is to check for other pests. Ants, roaches, crickets, spiders, beetles and so on. If these other pests are in your house a plenty, you are in danger from scorpions. Your house could be a scorpion buffet. In the case of ants or roaches who hang around water sources to begin with, you may have a serious problem just waiting to happen. Exterminate the other pests before you even worry about the scorpions. ELIMINATE THE FOOD SOURCES.
If you’ve gotten rid of (or checked around and can’t find evidence of) other pests and bugs then you can move on to the next step. The first rule is that any scorpion you see, kill immediately. Stomp on (with shoes) or slam it with something heavy. Soft exterior scorpions without the heavier armor plates can be killed with a flyswatter. The striped bark scorpions we had in Oklahoma could be taken out with a flyswatter easily. During the day scorpions will usually be hiding. I always could find them in the kitchen in the middle of the night.
The next step in prevention or extermination is to remove the habitat. Trash cans sitting in the yard need to be put on a frame that takes them off the ground. Debris, firewood, junk cars, old wooden toys, trash bags, or most any structure needs to be moved at least 20 feet from the house or picked up and disposed of. Scorpions thrive under firewood especially. Keep your lawn cut short close to the house, and trim bushes or hanging branches. Branches from trees can be used as a bridge to the roof of the house. Remember to never take firewood inside unless it is going STRAIGHT into the fireplace. Trim up plants and general clutter all around the house.
Proof your house. Any loose fitting insulation needs to be replaced with new weather stripping around doors and windows. Pay attention to cracks around light fixtures, inset ceiling fans and attic entrances. Check the attic as well for poorly sealed entrances to the outside. Keep in mind that most scorpions can flatten themselves extremely well and can fit in the tiniest cracks. Get out your caulking gun, and the putty and just go nuts! Seal everything as best as you can. In the attic, BE CAREFUL, as this is a likely place for a nest if you already have an infestation. Take a bright flashlight and always move objects deliberately and cautiously. Pay special attention to the ground and the scurrying critters you spook. Scorpions are often very quick, although a larger species that is threatened may threaten with it’s tail and pinchers. Scorpions aren’t usually aggressive unless you bother them, although if you move a scorpions habitat it will feel threatened.
After sealing the house, I recommend a good pesticide. Find a spray, and if it is a mix make sure to mix the MAXIMUM safe limit. You want to be as effective as possible. Most scorpion species can live 7-25 years and are VERY hardy. You have to be thorough. Spray the outside of the house around the foundation and up to a foot high along the bottom of the house as well. Make sure you have a spray which is safe inside the house, and do the perimeter of each room. Spray under suspected places such as the washer/dryer and under the stove. In my situations we’ve had quite a few that hid under the stove. Make sure to get the cabinets as well. While you are at it, I recommend a good spray or powder for out in the yard as well. This one would be for general pests that the scorpions feed on to keep them off of your property to begin with. Without a food source, they won’t be back. Boric Acid is a good powder which is generally considered safe for pets and children. Boric acid can cause many problems for scorpions. It can damage their exoskeletons, leaving them vulnerable to other forms of damage—in particular dehydration. It is also poisonous to them if consumed.
Something I haven’t mentioned is predators. Buy a cat or chickens. Not all cats will hunt, but if you get a good one they can help keep you safer from wandering scorpions at night and during the day. Chickens will eat anything and can keep scorpions from coming around if they are free to roam the yard. Get a good hunting assassin kitty. Scorpions are often hard to get rid of. Let’s recap so you understand the options. Then it will be your turn to go try and get those things OUT!
Recap and Summary of steps
To recap, do any of the following that you are able:
- Clean up your yard.
- Trim hanging branches and bushes attached to your house.
- Buy a good assassin cat.
- Use a blacklight to search for Scorpions at night, most will glow in the dark under the light.
- Buy chickens to go in the yard and keep pest population down.
- Caulk and seal ALL cracks in and out of the house including the attic entrances as well as you can.
- Spray with a “good” pesticide outside and hopefully inside.
- Dust the yard with something safe for pets and children, perhaps “boric acid”. This keeps pests in the yard down (if no chickens that is).
- Fix leaking faucets and make sure water is not left out.
Below, check out a few recommended products in the way of powders and poisons. Check warning labels and cautions in regard to each product. Follow directions that come with baits or poisons.
That concludes our article. Make sure to hop over to TREATING STINGS article as well, you may need it!